Roma win guarantees Champions League spot

Posted by Julian De Martinis

AP Photo/Studio FNRudi Garcia has guided Roma with laser-like focus to second place in Serie A.

More important than anything following Saturday’s 1-0 win away at Fiorentina, Roma are officially back in the UEFA Champions League Group Stage proper; no qualifying rounds, no risk of falling to third or further below with the gap over Napoli a whopping 14 points with 12 left on the table. No team besides bottom of Serie A Catania has such a blanket; every other side, from Juventus in first to Livorno in 19th, could yet tumble out of their spot, from a purely mathematical sense. Continue Reading...

Roma try to continue win streak vs. Fiorentina

Posted by Julian De Martinis

Destro_Mattia 140406 [576x324] - Roma blogAllsportMattia Destro will be on the sidelines versus Fiorentina as Roma seek to continue a seven-game win streak.

As the Mattia Destro ban controversy rages in the background, the Serie A season continues to march forward. For Roma, who will not be getting Destro back, the 34th matchday sees them away at Fiorentina in one of the toughest of the five remaining games this season. It also means two sides with more than a few similarities will face off. Both are hoping for points to reach objectives that are almost certainly out of reach.

- Garcia: Fiorentina, Roma "easy on the eyes football"
- Serie A Table

For the home side, there’s the slightest glimmer of hope of reaching third to take a Champions League spot away from Napoli, with nine points separating Vincenzo Montella's and Rafa Benitez's sides and fifteen left to potentially gain. Continue Reading...

Ljajic looks to be learning his lessons

Posted by Julian De Martinis

Giuseppe Bellini/Getty ImagesAdem Ljajic is enjoying a renaissance with Roma.

Adem Ljajic's exile from the starting eleven for Roma in recent months is a tale that has been covered before, but this past weekend against Atalanta, a new chapter was written. Ljajic, in fact, put in a rather comprehensive performance that may change manager Rudi Garcia's mind. But was it enough?

First, the obvious: Ljajic played nearly the entire match, lasting 87 minutes before coming off for the very young Federico Ricci. In that time he proved to be the undoing of the visitors, scoring once thanks to a layoff from Daniele De Rossi, inside of the box, and assisting Gervinho's goal in the second half. Continue Reading...

Atalanta, cliches and lies

Posted by Julian De Martinis

Gervinho GettyImagesGervinho (L) celebrates with his teammate Adem Ljajic

Roma’s 3-1 victory over Atalanta at home was a fun, comprehensive argument against many of the hollow criticisms -- most with some merit but all rather overstated for various reasons -- that have been levied against the side this season.

You know them by now, but just to rattle off some of the more intriguing ones to look back on in hindsight:

- Mattia Destro is not capable of leading the line for Roma
- Morgan De Sanctis and Douglas Maicon were too old and a waste of money
- Francesco Totti is too old and injury-prone
- Gervinho can’t finish and is a flop
- Leandro Castan is not good enough
- Roma should have sold Daniele De Rossi when they had the chance

There are many more that could be stated, and again, given a particular set of time and circumstances, a number of these concerns have some merit -- but Roma have shown this season that they're mostly just empty teasing. Continue Reading...

Destro's disturbing ban

Posted by Julian De Martinis

Claudio Villa/Getty ImagesMattia Destro will miss four matches for Roma due to suspension.

Normally, in the world of football, video evidence is used after matches to review incidences missed by the referee and decide appropriate punishment. It has never before been used to review referee actions and make alternative decisions, rewriting the history of the match to issue subsequent penalty.

This is why Mattia Destro's four-game ban is almost unbelievable. The incident that occurred between him and Davide Astori during his hat-trick heroics against Cagliari on Sunday is at the center of a very controversial decision. Continue Reading...

Destro carries Roma over Cagliari despite Totti's absence

Posted by Julian De Martinis

There's a famous banner that reads, “No Totti, No Party,” at Roma matches. It's become something of a mantra for the club, with numerous graphics and statistics floating around undermining how often the offense fails to score and how much the team struggles to win when the captain is absent through injury, suspension or rotation.

Against Cagliari today, Roma had no such issues in their 3-1 away win, thanks to a different Italian attacker who has taken the goal scoring mantle and run with it this season: Mattia Destro. Continue Reading...

Garcia bucking the trend at Roma

Posted by Julian De Martinis

AP Photo/Studio FNRudi Garcia has guided Roma with laser-like focus to second place in Serie A.

Roma manager Rudi Garcia's pre-match press conference for Sunday's game away at Cagliari was a refreshing experience, as usual. The Frenchman has accomplished something few coaches ever manage, nevertheless one in his first season in Italy: the ability to say the right thing and get along with the media. Endless tacticians, it seems, are either full of cliches or stir up controversy for no reason, but time and time again Garcia has been a straight shooter.

- Report: Pjanic happy to extend Roma contract

The Scudetto is on everyone's mind and the coach was driven yet cautious in his response to a question wondering if Juventus were favorites: "Obviously. Continue Reading...

Roma top Parma 4-2 in up-and-down match

Posted by Julian De Martinis

Paolo Bruno/Getty ImagesGervhino scored twice in a furious start to Roma's 4-2 win over Parma.

When Roma’s rescheduled match against Parma began again at the eighth minute with a throw in for visiting Parma, not many could have expected two goals from the home side, two additional goals chalked off, and the visitors to score as well before the next eight minutes were up.

Roberto Donadoni’s men, once flying high on an unbeaten streak that began with and ended against Juventus, were carved open by the pace, trickery, and persistence of Mattia Destro, Francesco Totti, Miralem Pjanic and Gervinho. Continue Reading...

Roma mired in second despite win over Sassuolo

Posted by Julian De Martinis

Roma beat Sassuolo in Serie A on Sunday.AssociatedRoma beat Sassuolo in Serie A on Sunday.

Roma’s 2-0 win over Sassuolo at the Stadio Citta’ di Tricolore on Sunday had many similarities with the 1-1 draw that took place in Rome back on Nov. 10. In both cases, Rudi Garcia’s men took the lead before the 20-minute mark thanks to a defensive lapse (an own goal, a player robbed of possession deep in his half), before letting up in the second half to risk conceding.

- Baldissoni: Roma still in hunt for Scudetto
- Roma coach praises referee on penalty reversal

Back on match day 12, it was Sassuolo that grabbed a last-gasp equalizer when Domenico Berardi added a smashing shot under the bar to steal two points just before the whistle in the 94th minute. Continue Reading...

Is Roma right to deny future generations the chance to wear No. 10?

Posted by Julian De Martinis

AllsportFrancesco Totti's No. 10 will go with him when he retires, James Pallotta says.

Buried away in an interview with Sky Sport’s Fabio Caressa, James Pallotta had some choice words to say about Francesco Totti -- when he retires, his No. 10 jersey will go with him, too.

"There is no doubt," Pallotta said, "when it happens it won’t be just a one-hour affair, but rather at least a month.”

If the thought of Er Capitano ever retiring is still too painful to bear, and too unrealistic to consider given his supernatural performances on the pitch, the plans to spend a month celebrating his over two-decade long career seems the very least he deserves. Continue Reading...

New stadium full of features Roma fans will love

Posted by Julian De Martinis

AP Photo/AS RomaRoma unveiled plans for a new stadium on Wednesday.

Roma's stadium unveiling on Wednesday was announced days ago, but there was perhaps no better way to usher it in than on the back of a late winner from a Roman born and bred, Alessandro Florenzi.

No matter what the result against Torino, however, Wednesday's unveiling was only ever going to be a celebration. Despite fan protests in the Curva Sud about the club's new crest -- no doubt present only because president James Pallotta was in town for the stadium unveiling -- new stadiums in Italy are something nearly universally accepted as necessary. Continue Reading...

Roma's dare pays off with late win vs. Torino

Posted by Julian De Martinis

AP Photo/Andrew MedichiniAlessandro Florenzi was the hero for Roma on Tuesday night with a late goal to beat Torino.

Allow me to get this out of the way first: ALLESSANNNDROOOO FLORENNNZIIIIIII!!!!!

That late, late strike from a player who may well be Roma's "Capitano futuro futuro" -- the next homegrown seemingly in line for the armband after Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi -- somehow, against all odds, won a match against a Torino side who nearly executed their plan perfectly.

- Gamecast: AS Roma 2-1 Torino

This felt very much like a match from the early season unbeaten run, where a moment of magic and fantastic team spirit somehow combined for all three points. Continue Reading...